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Various Artists
Beats Essential Bundle
Catalogue Number
Release Date
April 9, 2020

Nightmares on Wax - Smokers Delight (25th Anniversary Edition)

When a classic album like Smokers Delight is primed for reissue, it is common to find rare cuts from around the time of the original release included as bonus beats. However, this new edition of Smokers Delight sees Nightmares On Wax doing something a little different. Two of the four additional tracks here, ‘Let’s Ascend’ and ‘Aquaself’, are in fact completely new numbers which have been created with the same instruments, studio equipment, processes and techniques that were used when Nightmares On Wax came up with Smokers Delight all those years ago. As such, these cuts form a delightful bridge between the old and new Nightmares on Wax aesthetics, combining the languid breaks of old with that textural richness which has characterized more recent LPs like Shape The Future. We are also graced with a new funk mix of ‘Dreddoverboard’ and a luxurious, sprawling live take of ‘Nights Introlude’ taped in Chicago in 2014.

Knxwledge - 1988

1988 in hip-hop. Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton. Eric B & Rakim’s Follow The Leader. And, on 8th March, the birth of Glen Boothe, the beatmaker now known as Knxwledge. While Boothe’s new LP is not as hard-sounding as any of the above records, there is certainly a similar old-school sensibility at work here. Many of the samples on 1988 pull from the clean, smooth R&B sound that was knocking about at the time of Boothe’s birth. Tracks like ‘listen’ and ‘awomanslifeislove’ see soulful vocals and slow, sensual grooves floating dreamily across the mix. Knxwledge’s penchant for squelching bass and coasting drum programming also invokes the historical G-funk sound of his adopted home of LA.

Flying Lotus - Flamagra

At its core, Flamagra is still identifiable as a Flying Lotus album. The lopsided, circuit-fried boom-bap that has always been the cornerstone of the FlyLo style is all present and correct here, and Ellison’s love of jazz-fusion comes through again on tracks like ‘Pilgrim Side Eye’ (a cut co-written by Herbie Hancock and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson). That squelchy astral-funk sound we’ve seen Ellison play around within his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar also rears its head a few times, something hinted at by guest spots from Thundercat and George Clinton.


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